Two injured were in intensive care units in hospitals, but their condition was "stable". Six tank cars of a 13-car freight train were derailed early saturday morning for initially unknown reasons east of the town of gent in the village of wetteren. Three of them, which contained the highly toxic substance acrylonitrile, exploded. They then burned for 16 hours with heavy smoke until the fire, which could not be extinguished, finally stopped of its own accord.
Around 500 people had to leave their apartments and houses. Contrary to initial announcements, they were not allowed to return on monday night. 49 residents of houses in the immediate vicinity of the accident site were hospitalized – complaining of malaise and breathing difficulties.
The dead man was not recovered until sunday afternoon. Previously, rescue workers had not dared to enter the house because of the toxic fumes. Next to the man lay his dead dog. An initial investigation revealed that the man had been "severely poisoned," said provincial governor jan briers.
The accident occurred after a construction site, when the train changed track at a switch. The fire department loves to burn out the tank wagons so that no more toxic gases are produced. The flames did not go out until 16 hours after the accident. Afterwards, the fire department tried to cool down the glowing hot metal.
The provincial administration said that the local clearing plant was overloaded because of the large amounts of foam and loach water flowing into the sewage system. For this reason, part of the water is discharged into the river schelde. This may lead to the death of fish, but it is unavoidable," says oskar ebert. Later, water is to be pumped out of the clearing plant and taken away by a ship. The population was called upon not to drink water from their own wells for the time being.